Danish operator DFDS recently announced another milestone at the Avic Shipyard in Weihai, China, as the keel was officially laid on the new charter vessel, Cote D'Opale, the name which was previously reported on Afloat.ie
Owner of the newbuild Stena-E-Flexer class, Stena RoRo and DFDS will take the ferry on a 10 year bare-boat charter from delivery in China in June 2021.
Cote D'Opale will enter service on the Dover-Calais route, the busiest ferry-route between the UK and mainland Europe.
The new ferry will be the longest ship on the channel with capacity for 1,000 passengers and crew.
DFDS also operates passenger ferry services, Dover to Dunkirk, Newcastle to Amsterdam and Newhaven to Dieppe (see related story).
In addition to the UK routes, DFDS which is northern Europe’s largest integrated shipping and logistics company, they operate ferry routes in Scandinavia, the Baltic and an extensive freight-ferry network.
Danish shipping giant DFDS, has announced the name of their new ferry Côte D'Opale which is due for English Channel service between Dover and Calais in 2021.
The newbuild is named after a region of France that overlooks the English Channel. The Côte d'Opale is a French coastal region bordering Belgium, situated opposite the cliffs of the south-east of England.
Côte D'Opale yesterday started its journey with the first steel plates being cut in the traditional steel cutting ceremony. The vessel is being built at the AVIC shipyard in Weihai, China and will be launched for operation in 2021 on the Dover Calais route. It will be the longest ship on the channel with capacity for 1,000 passengers and crew.
The emphasis has been to provide customers with the best possible service and experience on board each and every day. Earlier this year DFDS put extensive investment into ensuring their ships are the best in meeting customer's needs, with investing in a substantial fleet renewal programme to ensure continued growth. Improving the customer experience with passenger comfort, children's play area, familiarity and dynamic food concepts at the forefront in the design process. Also offering WiFi, children's play area and easily accessible outdoor space.
Further development of the modern sea travel experience will be replicated over time across the fleet on the English Channel, which will bear a familiar resemblance to the Côte d'Opale. Further enhancing the best possible customer experience that DFDS has to offer, regardless of which vessel customers sail on.
Kasper Moos, Head of Short Routes and Passenger in DFDS said "We have great pleasure in announcing our new ship will be named the Cote D'Opale and the steel cutting marked a very special and exciting time as the ship starts to take shape in the construction process. The Côte D'Opale will give our passengers a relaxed travel experience with modern food concepts and the largest shopping experience on the channel. We continue to have a clear focus on our customers and take great pride in continually seeking improvements to ensure those special memorable experiences of travelling with DFDS.''
#DoverCalais – Lloyds Loading List reports that the Eurotunnel Group announced last week that it agreed to sell the main assets of its MyFerryLink maritime business, claiming that "the conditions necessary to develop freely did not exist".
Eurotunnel said it had received a binding offer from DFDS for a "let to buy sale" of two of its three ferries, Rodin and Berlioz. It added that it "regrets" that the SCOP SeaFrance workers co-operative that has operated the vessels since their purchase by Eurotunnel from SeaFrance "has not had the support it needed to be able to present a takeover proposal".
With regard to MyFerryLink's third vessel, Nord Pas de Calais, Eurotunnel said: "In order to maintain its transport operations, Eurotunnel Group will ask the competition authorities to lift the current prohibition and to enable it to be operated in coordination with the Fixed Link."
Eurotunnel said it believed the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) "should not oppose" the completion of the sale of the two ferries, "which will lead to two maritime operators of equal importance".
With this sale, Eurotunnel said it would "ensure that the activity remains in Calais, a situation which was not achieved when the SeaFrance Moliere was sold by its owner, Le Credit Lyonnais, to be operated in the Irish Sea".
Afloat.ie adds that SeaFrance Moliere which spent a stint for DFDS also on the Dover-Calais service was introduced in March as Stena Superfast X on the Dublin Port-Holyhead route.
The newcomer directly replaced Stena Nordica which incidentally serves for DFDS on the premier UK-France short sea service as Malo Seaways.
For more on this ferry industry development, Lloyds Loading List has the full report here.
#PlugInFerry - Within a decade, you could be driving to Dover for the summer getaway in a hybrid car — and when you get there to the continent, you could be boarding a plug-in electric ferry, so writes The Times.co.uk.
According to ABB, the European engineering giant, hybrid electric vessels are coming on stream and plug-in hybrid technology could begin to rule the waves.
Offshore supply ships and deep-sea drilling vessels in the oil and gas industry are already embracing the new technologies, according to Heikki Soljama, the managing director of ABB ports and marine. "There are similarities with the car industry, where in the foreseeable future we do not see.... to find out what more, visit the newspaper's link here.
Afloat adds that notably ferry followers in particular may recognise the profile of the ferry in photo accompanying the Times piece. The ferry in question is SeaFrance Moliere, alas the current Stena Superfast X.
She is seen here in a former guise in the Port of Dover when she served SeaFrance, the French operator that no longer exists, though her fleetmates remain in service for successor MyFerrylink.com.
This Dover-Calais operator is owned by Eurotunnel /SCOP that runs in the highly competitive premier UK-France short sea-service that is also served by P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways.
The collapse of SeaFrance led to her eventual return to the same route albeit on charter to DFDS Seaways/LD Lines joint venture under the name Dieppe Seaways.
Stena had chartered the ferry to DFDS however this ceased in late 2014. This was followed as her Irish Sea entry as Stena Superfast X last month and directly replacing Stena Nordica.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, DFDS are expected to launch the former 'Nordica' as their Malo Seaways on the Strait of Dover route.
#FerryCompetition – English Channel passengers and freight customers could face increased prices following Eurotunnel's acquisition of ferry operator, SeaFrance (Dover-Calais) the Competition Commission (CC) has provisionally found.
According to a summary of the CC's provisional findings published today, by adding ferry services to its existing Channel Tunnel business, Eurotunnel would significantly increase its already high share of the cross-Channel market and prices would rise.
The CC also found that Eurotunnel decided to acquire the SeaFrance ferries in order to prevent ferry operator DFDS/LD from buying them. Eurotunnel was concerned that if DFDS/LD obtained the assets cheaply, it could drive down prices for customers. For more on this story, from the UK's Competition Commission, click HERE.
#FERRY FORTNIGHT - This year's 'National Ferry Fortnight' organised by the Passenger Shipping Association is to be brought forward in March instead of May, according to TravelWeekly.co.uk.
The annual event which is used to promote and increase awareness of the UK ferry industry has set the new dates of the fortnight between the 17th-31st March.
According to the PSA the change of dates was designed to "emphasise the great value of family ferry travel at a time when parents have a watchful eye on budgets".
PSA which also represents the UK cruise sector had 13 ferry members but SeaFrance, a Dover-Calais operator recently went into administration.
A new official logo will front the campaign which is supported by all ferry line members of the association. The two week showcase aims to heighten consumer and media awareness of the UK's more than 50 ferry routes.
PSA members including Brittany Ferries, Condor Ferries, DFDS Seaways, Hovertravel, Isle Of Man Steam Packet Company, Irish Ferries, LD Lines, P&O Ferries, Red Funnel, Stena Line and Wightlink will take part.
It comes as the association estimated that around 35 million people, 8 million cars and 140,000 coaches were carried by ferries in 2011.
A series of promotional offers on ferry routes are planned as part of the campaign, to the Continent, Spain, Ireland and UK islands which promoted on the discoverferries.com website.
PSA director Bill Gibbons said: "Particularly for families, Britain's ferry services offer a reliable and flexible way to travel that's good value for money.
"Our ferry members are keen to bring forward the success of National Ferry Fortnight to March 2012 so families can plan and take advantage of the great range of opportunities presented by ferry companies."
The new route to Loch Ryan Port, Cairnryan includes a new £80m ferryport terminal which will be served by the 30,000 gross tonnes sisters, the largest ever ferries on the North Channel. Stena Superfast VIII is currently in the Skagerrak off northern Denmark and follows her sister Stena Superfast VII which arrived over the weekend, having also undergone refurbishment at the Romentowa shipyard.
The relocation of Scottish terminal from Stranraer to Loch Ryan Port is seven miles closer to the open sea and sailing times are to be reduced to 2hrs and 15minutes. The new terminal is to be officially opened on 25th November when First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness will join Dan Sten Olsson, Chairman of Stena Line.
As for the 15,229 gross tonnes Stena Navigator, she made her Stranraer-Belfast sailing yesterday, after de-storing at the VT4 ferry terminal, only completed in 2008, she proceeded to berth at Albert Quay, the location of the former city-centre ferry terminal.
In the interim period to the opening of the new Belfast-Cairnryan route, the sailing schedule on the Belfast-Stranraer service are been maintained by another conventional ferry, Stena Caledonia and fast sailings by the HSS Stena Voyager.
HSS Stena Voyager is expected to lay-up at VT4 after making final sailings to and from Stranraer this Sunday. It is expected Stena Caledonia will also be withdrawn that day and berth at Albert Quay. In the process she will pass Harland & Wolf shipyard, where she was launched in 1981 as the St. David, the last of the quartet of Saint-class ferries commissioend for Sealink/British Rail.
The career of Stena Navigator on the North Channel was short as she only entered service two years ago. She was built in 1984 as Champs Elysees first served for SNCF/Sealink's jointly run Dover-Calais route, followed by a brief spell under Stena Line as Stena Parisien on Newhaven-Dieppe sailings.
She returned to the Straits of Dover route but this time as SeaFrance Manet under the control of SeaFrance. In 2008 SeaFrance introduced SeaFrance Moliere, the former Superfast X, ironically another sister of Stena Line's 'Superfast' ships. This Superfast vessel along with two custom built newbuilds entered SeaFrance service in recent years which led to the eventual replacement of SeaFrance Renoir and her half sister SeaFrance Manet.
- Port of Belfast
- Stena Line
- Ports and Shipping News
- Ferry news
- Loch Ryan Port
- HSS Stena Voyager
- St. David
- Belfast Lough News
- Stena Superfast sisters
- Loch Ryan Port Cairnryan
- Harland & Wolf
- Sealink/British Rail
- SaintClass sisters
- Straits of Dover
- VT4 Terminal
- Loch Ryan Scotland
- Sealink British Rail
Sunflower 2 is to make bunker calls on the repositioning voyage, firstly in Valletta, Malta before she transits the Suez Canal to the Red Sea port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Columbo, Sri Lanka. From there she transits the Strait of Malacca then through the South China Sea followed by the East China Sea before finally entering the Strait of Korea to her homeport of Busan.
Since 1999 she has served Stena Line's fast-ferry high-season Rosslare-Fishguard route sailings taking 1 hour 50 minutes in tandem with conventional ferry Stena Europe (1981/24,828grt) which currently maintains the year-round 3 hours 30 minutes route. It is believed that Stena Line will not be operating high-season fast-ferry services in 2012.
Prior to her Dun Laoghaire departure, her South Korean crew have been preparing the craft over the last three weeks. Notably there was the removal of all Stena Line corporate livery markings on the hull. Her new name and port of registry were painted at the stern though she retained her original name at the bow which included both symbols of an Irish shamrock aptly to starboard (green) and the Welsh dragon to port (red) to reflect her Irish Sea southern corridor route.
Stena Lynx III departing Dun Laoghaire last year, note her starboard 'Shamrock' at the bow.
In recent years on the St. Georges Channel route she was marketed as the Stena 'Express'. Her final sailing this year was 4 September and three days later she docked Dun Laoghaire at St. Michaels Pier. On the adjacent berth which is designed specifically for and only capable of accommodating the HSS 1500 class fast-ferries.
Stena Lynx III also ran several shoulder season stints on the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route with the HSS Stena Explorer (1996/19,638grt) only running during the busier summer months. During this summer all sailings were maintained by HSS Stena Explorer until the route became a seasonal-only service for the first time this year when the last sailing took place in mid-September. The HSS remains in layover for the winter in Holyhead at her dedicated berth. The route is due to re-open in April or May.
The 35 knot Stena Lynx III was launched from fast-ferry catamaran specialists InCAT Pty based in the Tasmanian capital of Hobart. Early in her career the 81m wave-piercing catamaran (WPC) craft served Dover-Calais followed by two seasons between Newhaven-Dieppe when renamed P&O Elite for joint operators P&O Stena Line.
Her predecessors the WPC InCat 74m Stena Sea Lynx, became the first car-carrying catamaran to operate Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead sailings in 1993. The pioneering water-jet propelled craft was replaced in subsequent years by the larger InCAT 78m Stena Lynx II.
She was replaced in 1996 when the revolutionary four gas-turbine engine water-jet propelled HSS Stena Explorer was introduced. A further two sisters of the HSS 1500 class (High-speed Sea Service) were completed by Finnyards in Rauma.
- Dublin Port
- Dublin Bay News
- HSS Stena Explorer
- Dun LaoghaireHolyhead
- Stena Lynx III
- Ports and Shipping
- Dun Laoghaire Harbour
- Stena Line
- Ports and Shipping News
- Ferry news
- Stena Express
- Dun Laoghaire Harbour News
- Irish Sea fastferries
- Sunflower 2
- P&O Elite
- Highspeed Sea Service
- St.Michaels Pier Dun Laoghaire
Stena will lease the ferries for a three year period from Tallink, the Baltic Sea based shipping group. (Click here for photo of Superfast VIII in ice-flow waters). The charter arrangement includes an option to extend for a further year.
The distance between the new ferry terminal named the 'Loch Ryan Port' at Old House Point (which is just north of Cairnryan) is approx. 8kms apart from Stranraer taking the coastal (A77) road along the Loch that leads onto to Glasgow. At Cairnryan, rivals P&O (Irish Sea) who along with predecessing operators have run services on the route to Larne for several decades.
With a speed of 27-knots, passage times on the new Stena Belfast-Cairnryan route will take 2 hours 15 minutes, this compares to the existing time of 2 hours 50 minutes from Stranraer by conventional ferry and 2 hours taken by the HSS fast-ferry.
As a consequence of Stena operating from Loch Ryan Port, passage times by the Superfast sisters will be reduced by 35 minutes as the Belfast terminal was also relocated in recent years. Though despite the relocated ferry terminals, the Superfast sisters scheduled 2 hours 15 minutes sailings from the new port will be slightly longer compared to the HSS Stena Voyager's 2 hour sailing time from Stranraer.
Also serving the Belfast Stranraer route are the conventional ferries, Stena Caledonia (formerly Sealink's St. David built at Harland & Wolff) and Stena Navigator, that served SeaFrance on Dover-Calais sailings as SeaFrance Manet. When the Superfast sisters replace the HSS Stena Explorer and the conventional ferries, perhaps there will be a new a role for the two vessels in replacing expensive to run fast-craft operated elsewhere.
In the meantime the Superfast pair will maintain running on Tallink's 26-hour Helsinki-Rostock until mid-August. The 2001 German will then undergo an extensive refit of passenger facilities and a new freight-only deck will be incorporated to cater for haulage operators increasing use of higher vehicles and double-deck freight units.
The 'Superfast' vessel naming theme derives from the original owners, Greek operator Superfast Ferries, which sold their Scandinavian operations to Tallink in 2006.